London, UK -- Fighting between the Burmese army and the ethnic armed organization, Arakan Army, continues to worsen as clashes spread throughout Rakhine State. Notably, BHRN has observed a sharp increase in the use of landmines, artillery, helicopters, jets used in the fighting which have frequently injured or killed civilians, while displacing several more. The region is one of the poorest in the country and the ethnic Rohingya population there have faced shortages on food and aid since before the fighting began due to the government restriction.
“The fighting in Northern Rakhine State continues with no end in sight. The combatants are eager to continue but the civilian population desperately needs a ceasefire and full access to aid. The international community cannot stand by and allow the humanitarian crisis the conflict is creating to continue and must use all their power to bring all sides to negotiate an end to hostilities”, said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Network is calling on the Burmese Army and the Arakan Army to cease combat in and near civilian areas following a particularly deadly series of skirmishes in northern Rakhine State. Local estimates say at least seven civilians have died in the past two weeks with at least 49 civilians being injured. These deaths and injuries follow artillery shelling in civilian areas and reported use of helicopters by the Burmese army to bombard in and near civilian areas. Most recently, an artillery shell hit a school in Khamwe Chaung Village Buthidaung Township, injuring 19 ethnic Khami students. One of the students’ injuries is reported to be critical.
“Civilians have no say in war and yet are always its greatest victims. All combatants in Rakhine State must cease activity in civilian areas in order to ensure the safety of the innocent. The international community must make addressing this conflict a greater priority, especially as the Burmese military continues to harm the civilian population despite the International Court of Justice’s order for them to cease such activities,” Said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Networks calls for an immediate end to all aggression and violence against the Rohingya Christian community in Bangladesh and for the authorities and NGOs in the refugee camps to ensure the safety of the group. The call follows a recent spate of attacks, notably an incident on January 27th where a dispute between Christian Rohingya and Muslim Rohingya resulted in 13 people having to be hospitalised for their injuries. Similar attacks have taken place against Christian Rohingya for at least a year, though some Christian Rohingya tell BHRN it has been as long as two years.
“We stand by the principle that no one should ever be persecuted for their religion. This is as true for the Christian Rohingya as it is for the Muslim Rohingya. And while we want to stress that only a very small number of Muslim Rohingya are engaging in these attacks, we should all speak loudly and in unity to reject them. The authorities and the relevant UN agencies in Bangladesh must take appropriate measures to protect this minority and ensure that religious freedom is provided to everyone living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh,” Said Kyaw Win, BHRN’s Executive Director.
London, UK -- The Burmese Military has continued their assault against the Rohingya population despite an order for provisional measures by the International Court of Justice, which ordered them to cease any actions targeting the minority group. Early in the morning on Saturday 22 January an artillery shell landed in a civilian area in Kin Taung Village, Buthidaung Township. Two women were killed in the explosion, one of them was pregnant. Seven others were injured and taken to Buthidaung Hospital. Witnesses from Kin Taung told BHRN that there was no fighting between the Burmese Army at the time. Villagers in Kin Taung and surrounding villages told BHRN that Burma’s 551 Light Infantry Battalion is stationed about a mile north and that there is another temporary base the same battalion established about a mile south of the village.
London, UK -- Burma Human Rights Network heartily welcomes the decision of the International Court of Justice to impose Provisional Measures on Burma while the case investigating Genocide against the Rohingya proceeds. With these measures comes the responsibility of the international community to apply as much pressure as possible to ensure that Burma, the Burmese Military, and Aung San Suu Kyi comply with the court's orders.
“Today is a great day for justice and finally brings hope for so many Rohingya who felt forgotten by the world for too long. Now that Burma is realising that the world may not stand for their crimes any longer it is vital that all parties in the international community use all tools at their disposal to ensure that Burma complies with the ICJ’s orders. Then as the case continues there will truly be hope that justice for the Rohingya may prevail,” Said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.